When the Boston Red Sox announced Bianca Smith, 29, as a new minor league coach, the hiring broke barriers, with Smith becoming the first Black woman to coach in professional baseball.
But during her introductory press conference on Thursday, she made it known that her coaching aspirations lie at the highest levels of the sport.
"I don't want to limit myself and I want to go as I can," Smith said. "I want to continue to challenge myself and right now, that [goal] is MLB manager. I don't see that changing anytime soon. ... As much as I love coaching, I want to be in that position. I want to learn as much as I can to be in that role."
Before her hiring with the Red Sox, Smith worked as the assistant coach and hitting coordinator at Carroll University in Wisconsin since 2018 and as an assistant coach at the University of Dallas in 2018. She also interned with the Cincinnati Reds and Texas Rangers organizations in addition to an internship with the Major League Baseball corporate offices.
Smith first started conversations with the Red Sox in early November, going through an interview process with several departments, including player development and scouting. Boston hired her less than a month later.
"I got into the habit of not telling my parents when I initially get a call because they get so excited and they go off and get gear and stuff when I don't even have a job yet," Smith said. "I wanted to wait and see where this went. It went so fast that I didn't even have a chance to tell them I was interviewing and that this could be big. When I did finally get a chance to tell them, they were blown away. The biggest thing is that they were upset that they couldn't tell anybody yet because we had to wait."
Smith first dreamed of a future as a general manager because she didn't see role models on the field to help her envision a career as a coach. While studying for her master's degree in business administration in sports management and doctorate of jurisprudence at Case Western in Cleveland, Ohio, she served as a graduate assistant and director of baseball operations, where her hands-on experience with coaching fueled her interest in the career path.
"Case Western was especially important to me because when I was applying to grad school when I got in, I reached out to all the baseball coaches of the schools I got into and Case Western was the only one that I got into that responded immediately that I could help out," Smith said. "Everybody else told me they would let me know. We might be OK, you might be able to be a manager. I wanted to do more than that. Matt Englander, the head coach, immediately gave me a list of things to do."
When asked why many women choose not to pursue careers in baseball, Smith points to the lack of tangible role models.
"You don't see someone who looks like you on the field so you don't think that you can do that too," Smith said. "A lot of kids get their idea of what they want to do based on who they see doing it. I'm hoping that, besides focusing on my job and developing players as much as I can, if the result of this position is that more women, more people in general are inspired to consider this as a position or at least try to get into the game, that would be great. That's the first step, letting them have the idea that this is a potential career path."
Smith said she did not consider herself a role model before news of her hiring broke earlier this week, but is hoping to use this opportunity to help inspire others to follow their dreams.
"I am recognizing that people are inspired by the story," Smith said. "I've had people reach out and say that I am not their role model and it's kind of weird to think about to be honest. That wasn't really my intention when I took the job to be honest, but I am happy if my story can inspire other women, other women of color, other people of color, really anybody. I don't want to put limits on it."